Antisemitic Outrage: Lufthansa Airline Bans Jewish Passengers From Flight in Germany as German Police Surround Them – ACLJ Retained To Defend Them

It’s hard to comprehend that in 2022 Jewish airline passengers could be banned from a flight in Germany and surrounded by armed German police, simply because they are Jewish, yet that is exactly what has happened. This blatant public display of antisemitism is beyond outrageous.

The ACLJ has been retained by numerous travelers who were barred from the boarding process by Lufthansa employees at an airport in Frankfurt, Germany, because they are Jewish. This disgraceful incident has made international headlines and has, rightly, drawn condemnation from around the world.

On May 4th, a small number of passengers on a flight from New York to Frankfurt were allegedly not following Lufthansa’s rules. Rather than addressing the issue with those particular passengers, Lufthansa instead prevented over 120 Jewish individuals from boarding their connecting flight to Budapest, Hungary. Numerous videos of the incident make it clear that these individuals were singled out for being visibly Jewish or having Jewish-sounding names and were collectively punished for the actions of a small number of people.

One video showed a Lufthansa supervisor blaming “Jews coming from JFK,” and stating that “everyone has to pay” because the Jews made “the mess.” In another video, a gate agent responds on the airport PA system to the Jewish travelers’ questions about why they were bumped from the flight to Budapest by telling them, “You know why.” Ironically, some video footage of the incident has been removed from various websites because the videos depict hate speech against the Jewish travelers.

Lufthansa’s blatant discrimination was enforced by dozens of armed German police officers who ensured that the targeted Jews did not board the flight. In light of the horrors of World War II and the Holocaust, the emotional trauma that would be experienced by a group of Jews being rounded up in Germany simply because they are Jewish is readily apparent. A number of the victims were the children of Holocaust survivors. As a member of Germany’s parliament stated, “Excluding Jews from a flight because they were recognizable as Jewish is a scandal. I expect German companies in particular to be aware of antisemitism.”

Lufthansa’s CEO has been quoted as admitting that “the airline’s refusal to transport the Jews on the flight was not acceptable and the words used by the Lufthansa employee about punishing all Jews on the flight for the sins of the few were not company policy or acceptable behavior.” He has also purportedly said that “this incident should never have happened and that employees involved have been suspended, pending the airline’s investigation into what happened.”

The ACLJ began receiving calls immediately after the incident, including from a number of the victims who had been in touch with Dov Hikind of Americans Against Antisemitism, and community organizer Ezzie Schaffran, who referred them to the ACLJ.  We have already spoken with Lufthansa’s legal team and put them on notice regarding our representation. We will be moving forward toward seeking justice for our clients in the coming days.

The right to exercise one’s religion and to be free from discrimination due to one’s religious faith is an inalienable right that is protected by both international law and the laws of many nations. The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has been dedicated to defending this right since its inception, and we will continue to do so here. Antisemitic behavior and discrimination should never be tolerated.